Staying motivated and keeping your productivity high are sometimes difficult, especially if you are sitting at a desk in your home office with no one to breathe down your neck and yell about deadlines. You’ll often find that people who tend to be unmotivated and slack off more don’t have things around their office set up in a way that allows them to stay focused on their work for extended periods of time. Here are some simple things you can do to upgrade your office and create your perfect work environment.
1. Hang your hardware on the wall using hooks
An excellent way of saving some space on your desk and just generally making things more manageable is to get some wall hooks and hang things on them. You can get a number of very cheap metal hooks or plastic attachments that can be used to hold anything from cables and small gadgets to larger office supplies.
2. Add some extra storage space
Another great way of preventing your desk from getting all cluttered up is to simply add some additional storage space. A small drawer with about three compartments is usually more than enough, but you can also make your own shelves. A chest or similar piece of old furniture can also be used to add storage space, but something as simple as boxes, baskets or travel bags can do the trick in a pinch.
3. Elevate your speakers to ear level
Instead of buying new speakers or constantly turning up the volume, you can simply raise your speakers on a platform so they are at ear level. This way you get a much clearer sound without making too much noise.
4. Add more light
You will strain your eyes if there isn’t enough light and this can lead to a deterioration of your eyesight over time. Low light conditions can also make you feel drowsy and even slightly depressed. By adding a good lamp you will ensure that there is enough light in your immediate surroundings for you to see clearly. If at all possible you should try and let some natural light into your office by setting up your work desk near a window.
5. Give it some color
Bland, boring and grey is not really a design that promotes creativity and productivity. If you want to stay motivated, you need to feel comfortable and relaxed, which can be achieved by adding some bright colors and spicing things up. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, some paintings or prints, colorful office supplies on your desk, a new rug, painting an interesting pattern on your desk and drawer – all these things can help you create a fun work area where you can spend hours at a time without feeling claustrophobic or depressed.
6. Get a small potted plant
A nice, green plant will help you upgrade your office in several ways. It provides you with extra oxygen, livens up your interior and keeps you connected to nature so you don’t feel like you are in a prison. You need a plant that doesn’t require a lot of sunlight and is simple to maintain. Some good choices include English Ivy, Philodendrons and Peace Lilies.
7. Find a comfortable, ergonomic chair
Sitting in the right position not only ensures that you stay healthy, but it also enables you to sit in the same position much longer without fidgeting around or taking frequent breaks to stretch your body. A good office chair follows the natural curvature of the spine, provides lumbar support, and is highly adjustable so as to allow you to customize the chair to your size and needs. Make sure your knees and elbows are bent at 90 degree angles, that the armrests provide adequate support for your forearms, and that the chair is comfortable yet stiff enough to keep your body aligned properly.
8. Improve your desk
You will need to set up the things on your desk so that they are within reach. Your desk also needs to have enough space to fit everything and some additional storage where you can put away things that you don’t use that often. Generally speaking, you should be able to reach your peripherals – i.e. mouse, printer, speakers – and important tools, like a calculator or notepad and pen, without moving your body. The things that you use less frequently should be placed further away and you should only have to move your chair or get up when you need to access things that are used on rare occasions. An elevated platform for the monitor and a sliding base for the mouse and keyboard are also beneficial.
9. Put your monitor at eye level
The reason most people hunch over so much when sitting at the computer (well, apart from the fact that they often have really bad chairs and low desks) is the fact that the monitor is on a lower level. Your monitor should be at eye level so that you can keep your neck and back straight when looking at the screen. If using a laptop, it’s best to get a USB keyboard and raise the laptop. There are plenty of good bases that allow you to do this, but a stack of books will do just fine.
10. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy
Some two or three hours into your day at the office you will start to feel mental fatigue and decide to take a short break. Just 5–10 minutes can be enough to let your brain relax, but you need to keep your mind off work and focus it on something fun and pleasurable. Pictures of your loved ones, a model ship, your favorite fishing rod, your first guitar, or a small figurine with a lot of emotional value are just some examples of things that can help put your mind at ease.
11. Always have a few items lying around that can help your body relax
Your body tends to get tense and uncomfortable from sitting too long. That’s why it’s important to have a few useful items at your side, such as a grip straightener, a resistance band, a foam roller or a head massager. Take a break every so often, do some light exercise to strengthen the tendons and get some blood flowing through the muscles, and then stretch to loosen up your body.
12. Create a portable stand for your webcam or microphone
There are plenty of cheap webcams that include a portable stand and you can get small, flexible stands for webcams for a very low price as well. They allow you to position your webcam any way you want, so that you don’t have to hunch over or mess with the lighting to get a good picture.
13. Organize your cables
There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of tangled up cables lying on the floor, particularly when you have to unplug something. Organizing cables isn’t that difficult. You’ll need to unplug everything and untangle those messy cables first, then use hooks and different attachments to make sure the cables run straight from the machines to the sockets. Putting a few small stickers with the right labels (e.g. computer, monitor, printer, etc.) on the cables can help you quickly identify which cable goes where.
14. Get a whiteboard
A whiteboard is essential for visualizing your thoughts and putting down those split-second epiphanies before you have a chance to forget them. It also serves as a great reminder – it’s difficult to forget about something when you have a huge list of tasks staring you in the face every time you sit down at your desk. A whiteboard helps you become more organized and you can always draw some random things on it if you start feeling bored.
In order to do your best you need a workplace that is tidy, decorated to your liking and has a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere. It all comes down to motivation, so make sure you upgrade your office in a way that keeps you feeling happy and motivated.